Many of us were forced to learn a second language in school. Whether you loved it or hated it, chances are you’ve forgotten most of the words you were taught. Yet, the benefits of learning a second language are many! We’ve compiled a list of different reasons you should learn a second language to “brain up”! Learning a new language takes determination and plenty of time, but if you end up learning at least a few words, you’ll be proud that you’ve accomplished something extraordinary.
1. Work experience: Some workplaces need people who speak foreign languages to talk to oversee clients or communicate on business trips. Learning a second language can give you a leg up in many fields if you’re looking for a job or hoping to switch careers. It may even help you land a promotion if you’re anxious to do more at your company.
2. Have to move to a different country for work or other reasons?: Relocating to a new country can be challenging, especially if you’re clueless about their language. Already learning a few parts of different languages will help ease the transition if you ever have to relocate to a new country for work or personal reasons.
3. Travel: Caught the travel bug? Learning a second language will help you enjoy your traveling experience much more. Even if you only know a few key phrases, you’ll get along better with the locals and have less trouble navigating your way around. Without worrying so much about understanding a foreign tongue, you will be able to relax and enjoy a cultural experience much more!
4. Communicate with cultural friends and family: If you have a wide range of friends or family, perhaps some of them speak a different language. If you take the time to learn some of their words, you will have a greater connection with them and their way of thinking. Perhaps then you can speak secretly with them without others understanding…
5. Learn about your background: Most of us come from foreign ancestors. Whether some of your ancestors came from Mexico, France, or somewhere else, learning the language of your family tree can help you pass it along to future generations and learn more about where you came from.
6. Culture and religion: Perhaps you’re interested in foreign films, books, or music, but don’t understand a thing they’re saying! Learning the language of the culture you love will make it a much happier experience for you and unlock some of the language translation gaps. If you’re also interested in a certain religion, learning the ancient language can help you go back and read holy books in the original language. Think about how smart you’ll feel!
7. Love a challenge and enjoy learning new things?: Then learning a new language is definitely for you! You’ll enjoy the challenge of learning something new, perhaps something you haven’t done since you finished your education.
8. Keep your mind healthy: Learning a new language has been shown to offset dementia and memory loss. Keeping your mind sharp is never a bad thing!
9. Help people in need: Learning a second language will help you if you choose to volunteer in another country. If you desire to go abroad and help those less fortunate, learning their language will help you and the people you help get more out of the experience.
10. Understand new people and even yourself: Learning to speak something else will only help you more understand other people different from you, and maybe even yourself in the process. While this process will be difficult, it can also be fun!
“I work hard at Italian, but I keep hoping it will one day just be revealed to me whole, perfect. One day I will open my mouth and be magically fluent. Then I will be a real Italian girl, instead of a total American who still can’t hear someone call across the street to his friend Marco without wanting instinctively to yell back ‘Polo!’”-Liz Gilbert in “Eat, Pray, Love”
To read more from Lauren, check out Lauren’s Thoughts.